An Illinois coalition of transportation advocates is calling for changes to the state's motor fuel tax as a means to boost funding to revamp roads and other transit infrastructure in need of urgent repairs.
Illinois' motor fuel tax, used in part to fund road construction and maintenance, has remained at 19 cents since 1991, and state and federal funding for the transportation system is in short supply, advocates note. Those are just a few key reasons why the Transportation for Illinois Coalition says the state needs to think hard about raising its motor fuel tax and indexing it to inflation.
The group is also proposing other revenue solutions, such as ending ethanol tax exemptions and imposing a sales tax on oil changes and other vehicle-related services.
Only 61 percent of Illinois roads will be considered in "acceptable shape" in five years if swift improvements to the system are not made, the coalition contends. Currently, 85 percent of Illinois roads are deemed as being in "acceptable shape."
Current transportation funding provided through the state's motor sales tax is far from adequate, the group maintains, noting that Illinois needs $1.8 billion more on an annual basis to cover short- and long-term infrastructure maintenance costs.
"We've sort of reached a crescendo here in the state, we've gotten to the point where the problem is so bad that it's really affecting everybody," the Metropolitan Planning Council's Peter Skosey told the newspaper. "It's become a now-or-never situation."